Empedocles was a Greek philosopher, healer, and magician who lived from around 490-430 BC. The cosmogenic theory of four elements that is a staple of western witchcraft originated with him. His work also continues to influence contemporary science.
Empedocles’ descriptions and thesis were taken up by Plato and Aristotle and were followed for centuries. Today we can see the impact of his thinking on developing modern science and even in today’s contemporary science. His description of the world as composed of substance and of force which are not equivalent to each other but are two parts that interact to bring about everything is something that we very much hold onto even today with science still separating still elements and natural forces. This is not the only contribution that Empedocles made that foreshadows developments in science, although it must be noted that his ideas were not knowingly built upon by modern scientists but merely in retrospect are able to be seen as quite radical to our contemporary scientific beliefs. He also began to hypothesize that light had a speed with a finite velocity which would be later be one of Einstein’s major contributions. Aristotle writes of Empedocles’ notion: “Empdeocles says that the light from the Sun arrives first in the intervening space before it comes to the eye, or reaches Earth. This might plausibly seem to be the case. For whatever is moved through space, is moved from one place to another; hence, there must be a corresponding interval of time also in whch it is moved from the one place to the other. But any given time is divisible into parts; so that we should assume a time when the sun’s ray was not as yet seen, but was still travelling in the middle space.” — The European Graduate School
His is an important name to remember because his principles have so much to do with the way that magick is practiced today.
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